The peace negotiations between the government (GPH) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) resumed last year in an upbeat mood with both sides agreeing to fast track the process. A year later, the talks has lost its steam and is proving to be a difficult and protracted one with a probability of meeting the same fate as in previous negotiations. Even as both the GPH panel led by Silvestre Bello and the NDFP panel led by Fidel V. Agcaoili try to save the process through continuing back-channel talks the realities on the ground – such as military intransigence and President Duterte’s poor grasp of the peace process, on one hand, and the NPA holding its ground to resist AFP operations, on the other – far outweigh efforts to keep the talks going.
We, the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines, wish to enjoin your assistance and collaboration. We all cry from our hearts: War in Marawi, never again! War in Marawi, no more!
Since Duterte declared martial law throughout Mindanao on May 23, there have been reports of discrimination against Muslims. ID requirements for Muslims should be rejected outright.
We in Konsyensya Dabaw are disturbed by the series of messages from the President that promote militarism and put civilians at risk.
The first year of the Duterte administration has been a virtual tug-of-war between those pursuing genuine and thorough-going reforms and those defending the status quo. However, it seems that in Duterte’s first year, the Right–the militarists, the imperialists’ lackeys and the neoliberals– had pulled the rope farther to their side. Essentially, while the Duterte administration has initiated some pro-people programs and policies, yet, over-all it is the same mainly pro-imperialists, neoliberal, anti-poor and repressive policies pushed by the pro-US, militarists and neoliberals in the Duterte cabinet that are dominant.
Beyond the issue of lipstick donations, a critical inquiry on “for whom and for what” our efforts are would always be a sensible question for donors and volunteers. Are we extending support to alleviate the suffering of our fellow human beings, or do our efforts only reinforce the existing social order that oppresses the majority, including and especially women?
There is a grave humanitarian crisis in Mindanao. The mission notes a total of 325,294 IDPs in Mindanao, a big portion of which are in home-based and evacuation-center based in Lanao del Sur, and a smaller portion in Maguindanao and Davao del Sur.
The active involvement of citizens in creating a nurturing society steeped in justice depends on the truth. That is the service to which media is called. That is why we have schools and colleges and universities. That is why teaching is a noble profession. That is why books and magazines, journals and articles are published.
It must be clear by now: Whether you’re in Marawi, Mindanao or Manila, we’re all unsafe from martial law’s effects on our basic rights. And nowhere is this more obvious than the internet and the basic rights we enjoy online and offline.
Approximately 26 million children trooped to major public and some private schools during the opening of classes today nationwide. But the annual event did not hog the headlines as it would normally do. This, as the country was gripped with the attack by a lone gunman at the elite Resorts World Manila last dawn Friday. Foremost in the minds of the many was the question whether the attack was a terrorist assault grave enough to precipitate a martial law declaration nationwide, and graver still, that it would impede the school opening today.